Sale of Drugs in a Prohibited Area

Selling drugs is already a heavily penalized crime in Minnesota, but when the offense is committed in a prohibited area, the offense becomes even more severe. Selling in a drug-free zone is considered an aggravating factor, which will result in additional time behind bars and more expensive fines.

A defense lawyer is critical when charged with a crime involving aggravating factors. The court will be wary about reducing your sentence or dropping the charges, especially since children are the main occupants of prohibited areas.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley

Were you arrested or charged for selling drugs? Was the act committed in a drug-free zone? If this is the case, you have come to the right place. James Blumberg is well respected in the legal community and will do everything in his power to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

The sooner you contact James Blumberg Law, the sooner we can get to work on your case. You can schedule a time to speak with us at (952) 431-7758. We defend clients in areas such as Dakota County, Ramsey County, Scott County and Washington County.

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What is a Drug-free Zone?

Laws for drug-free zones are one of the longest standing policies in Minnesota’s war on drugs. The premise behind these prohibited areas was drug trafficking near places like schools posed a significant danger to children. Drug-free zones are typically areas where children are likely to be present, but it includes other areas as well.

School zones are one of the more well-known drug-free zones. According to the statutes, a school zone includes any property controlled by a school, regardless if it’s public or private. This can include grade schools, vocational centers and any other facility used for extracurricular or co-curricular activities. Areas within a school bus are also considered drug-free zones, but only when transporting elementary or secondary school students.

Parks are another area considered a drug-free zone in Minnesota. However, it must be a public park operated by either the state, local or federal government, park district board or park and recreation board. Neighborhood parks are not considered drug-free zones. You will also face increased penalties for selling drugs if the act is committed in a public housing zone or drug treatment facility.

The structures on the property are not the only areas considered a drug-free zone. According to the statutes, a prohibited area also extends 300 feet from the border of the property, or one city block, whichever is greater.

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How is Selling in a Prohibited Area Charged?

There is no standalone charge for selling drugs in a prohibited area. Instead, doing so is an aggravating factor that will result in reclassified charges and elevated penalties. The penalties will depend on the drug that was sold. Keep in mind; charges and penalties will be elevated further if you sold to a minor or had a weapon in the prohibited area.

Selling narcotics in a prohibited area is a second-degree controlled substance crime. Common narcotics include:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • 5 kilograms or more of marijuana

A second-degree controlled substance crime is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. If this is your second conviction, you will be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison with a required three-year sentence.

Minnesota may have taken steps to lessen the penalties for marijuana crimes but selling the plant in a drug-free zone is another story. Selling any amount of marijuana in a prohibited area is a fourth-degree controlled substance crime punishable by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; or
  • A fine of up to $100,000; or
  • Both a fine and incarceration

Minors convicted of the offense who are at least 14 or older may be tried as an adult and sentenced in adult court. This can be a frightening experience as a child, so it’s crucial to contact a defense attorney if your child has been arrested or charged for selling drugs in a prohibited area.

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Additional Resources

Definitions | Minnesota Statutes – Read the definition of what the state considers a school zone, park and other drug-free zones. You can find out how the state defines sell, marijuana and controlled substance. You can also gain access to a list of aggravating factors that can result in elevated penalties.

Controlled Substance Crimes | Minnesota Statutes – Visit the Minnesota Legislature website to view the chapter of the statutes governing controlled substance crimes. From the table of contents, you can gain access to the sections over second and fourth-degree controlled substance crimes and find out how possession in a drug-free zone is charged.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley

You can rest assured your case will be in good hands at James Blumberg Law. James Blumberg understands how trying this time is for you, which is why he wants to help. He will use his experience as a criminal defense attorney to your advantage and ensure your side of the story is heard.


Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact us today. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to speak with us. We are based in Apple Valley but also assist clients in areas such as Saint Paul, Shakopee and Woodbury.

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